China deploys long-range drone near Indian border

China has deployed EA-03 “Soar Dragon” long-range reconnaissance drones at the Shigatse Peace Airport in the Tibet Autonomous Region near the Indian border, according to reports.

Satellite imagery on Aug. 24 shows three EA-03 drones, eight J-10 fighter jets, two JH-7A fighter-bombers, two J-11/Su-30MKK heavy fighters, one Mi-17 medium-lift helicopter and one Il-76 strategic airlifter at the site.

The airport is around 250 km as the crow flies from the location of the Sino-Indian standoff at the Doklam Plateau near the Bhutan-China-India trijunction.

On August 28, India and China agreed to withdraw their troops from the area, ending a nearly three-month standoff. This was considered to be a breakthrough as the standoff had a great impact on the bilateral relations.

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has recently resumed road building just 10 km from the location of the standoff with the Indian Army.

Guizhou Soar Dragon

Guizhou Soar Dragon (Xiáng Lóng) is a Chinese High-Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed for reconnaissance and possible anti-shipping missions.

It was designed by Chengdu Aircraft Corporation and constructed by Guizhou Aircraft Industry Corporation for service with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force.

The UAV features an unusual joined, tandem wingplan.

The primary mission of the Soar Dragon is expected to be aerial reconnaissance, but it is anticipated that the aircraft will also be fitted with sensors suitable for designating naval vessels for targeting by anti-ship ballistic missiles and cruise missiles.

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